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Works Progress Administration


The Works Progress Administration (renamed in 1939 as the Work Projects AdministrationWPA) was the largest and most ambitious American New Deal agency, employing millions of people (mostly unskilled men) to carry out public work projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads


"We Pay America!"

Rebecca Walker

The WPA was a Relief program.

  • The WPA built thousands of roads, bridges, schools, post offices, and much more public projects.
  • Thousands of unemployed writers, musicians, artists, actors, and photographers went under federal payroll (federal payroll is the type of Payroll Tax that funds Medicare and Social Security).









The WPA was doing wonders for many people but after 8 years in the works, the WPA was terminated. As WWII was coming into action, unemployment ended with war production, and with millions of men were drafted and joining the war also. The WPA was no longer needed. Following through, Roosevelt told Federal Works Administrator to end the WPA in a letter that was written on December 4, 1942. FDR wrote: "By building airports, schools, highways, and parks; by making huge quantities of clothing for the unfortunate; by serving millions of lunches to school children; by almost immeasurable kinds and quantities of service the Work Projects Administration has reached a creative hand into every county in this Nation. It has added to the national wealth, has repaired the wastage of depression, and has strengthened the country to bear the burden of war. By employing eight millions of Americans, with thirty millions of dependents, it has brought to these people renewed hope and courage. It has maintained and increased their working skills, and it has enabled them once more to take their rightful places in public or in private employment". WPA started ending in the states in early 1943, but with no budgets supporting the administration, the WPA dissolved on June 30th, 1943.

The Works Progress Administration was a Relief program built by FDR for his New Deal. It was the largest American New Deal agency, and it employed millions of people. It also produced many public construction projects, including buildings, parks, roads, bridges, schools, courthouses, hospitals, sidewalks, waterworks, and post-offices, but also constructed museums, swimming pools, parks, community centers, playgrounds, coliseums, markets, fairgrounds, tennis courts, zoos, botanical gardens, auditoriums, waterfronts, city halls, gyms, and university unions. Most of these are still in use today. The WPA first project was the Federal Project Number One, which had 5 differents parts. There was Music, Theatre, Art, Historic Records, and Writing. The Administration didn't just have relief for the unemployment, Women & African Americans also were part of it. By 1935, there were 3,500,000 African Americans (men, women, and children) on relief, almost 35 percent of the African-American population; plus another 250,000 African-American adults were working on WPA projects. Altogether during 1938, about 45 percent of the nation's African-American families were either on relief or were employed by the WPA. About 15% of the household heads on relief were women, and youth programs were operated separately by the National Youth Administration. The average worker was about 40 years old (about the same as the average family head on relief).

Termination of the WPA

10 Biographical Facts About Franklin D. Roosevelt 

  • Franklin D. Roosevelt was the only U.S. president to be elected four times (12 years in office).
  • Led America through WWII & The Great Depression
  • FDR and Teddy Roosevelt were 5th cousins, and FDR's wife Eleanor was Teddy's niece. 
  • Roosevelt was invited to run for the New York state senate. He ran as a Democrat in a district that had voted Republican for the past 32 years. Through hard campaigning and the help of his name, he won the seat in a Democratic landslide.
  • FDR won the Democratic nomination for vice president in 1920 with James M. Cox, governor of Ohio, as the party's presidential pick. The pair lost out to Republican Warren Harding and his running mate Calvin Coolidge.
  • FDR's most famous quote (and a most popular used quote), is "The only thing to fear is fear itself". This was said in his first Inauguration speech on March 4th, 1933.
  • Roosevelt ended up dying in office in 1945, he suffered from an Intracerebral hemorrhage (Ruptured blood vessels in the brain). 
  • FDR had 3 Vice Presidents. John N. Garner (1933-1941) Henry A. Wallace (1941-1945) Harry S. Truman (1945).
  • Before his presidential job, FDR was also the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, 44th Governor of New York, and a Senate of the New York State Senate.
  • Roosevelt fell ill and was diagnosed with polio.The infectious disease left him with permanent paralysis from the waist down. Following the illness, Roosevelt remained out of the public eye for several years.

Works Progress Administration Effects on Economy.